The ensemble was conceived in a doctoral recital of mine at the University of Miami. The opening track "Fair Weather" was performed at that recital (10 years ago!!) but all other arrangements and originals are from the last 4 or 5 years, most from fairly recently though.
The album is largely a "standards" record, with 13 of the 17 tracks being arrangements of old tunes. The Album title though has more to do with the original tunes on it, as they all deal with direction and perspective (Indirect Ingress, Circumambulate, Catty Corner, Throughline). There is at least a little significance to the name of each original in relation to their musical content.
My hope has been that listeners will get a sense that a unique and highly specified approach to arranging was taken with many of the tracks on "Perspective". The trumpet/guitar/bass sonic combination is one that has not been explored thoroughly (Payton, McBride, Whitfield album "Fingerpainting" is a huge inspiration of course), and the approach to writing was meant to be accessible, but full of points of intrigue for the initiated. I wanted to use the instrumentation to it's full potential, almost approaching the writing as I might for a big band arrangement.
Perhaps there are some who may find this interesting, but largely as an exercise for my myself and for my own record keeping I'm going to discuss each track from the album at least a bit.
Benny Golson's "Fair Weather" has spoken to me since I heard Art Farmer's recording on "Modern Art". As mentioned it is the oldest arrangement on the album, but also one that I'm happy with. A lot of it is lifted from Farmer's version actually, with the guitar acting as Golson's sax. A "shout section" is what sets this version apart from Farmers the most, along with moments in the tune where the bass plays in rhythmic unison with the trumpet and guitar as opposed to "walking". These are moments when "passing" chords can be added as melody notes approach strong beats.
The original chords are shown on top of the trumpet part here, but the added passing chords are listed beneath the bass. Notice the movement of the two guitar notes as well, often moving in contrary motion, with a distance largely between a 3rd and a 6th, which are not particularly difficult on guitar (though even something like this that may look simple to a pianist can be tricky to work out on guitar). The final M7 interval in guitar is striking at the end of the phrase.
I feel the "shout" section is effective because of it's use of various textures that shift quickly throughout. The instruments oscillate between unison, 2-part harmony with bass, 3-part harmony, 4-part harmony, as well as top part with rhythmic notation.
I was not familiar with the (now antiquated) term "circumambulate" until coming across it in "Moby- Dick". The word simply means "to walk around the perimeter of" something. I was reading (or attempting to read...again) the novel as I was writing this tune and the term stuck with me and seemed to fit what's happening with the melody and chords. The chords travel ever downwards in the "A" sections, with a melody that "moves around" the stubborn progression, finding a fairly melodic line despite the odd descending harmonies. One upward half step movement of the root leads back to the tonic. I find it amusing how "normal" the tune sounds despite the non-functional progression, largely due to a simple melody line. Here's a "lead sheet" look at the "A" section.
Below the "A" melody is shown again, but now with the specific 2 or 3-note guitar voicings under the trumpet melody.
The bridge consists of a bit more traditional series of "ii-V" progressions, but punctuated with references to material from the intro and A sections in the gtr/bass.
There's probably no better example of how passionate I've been about voicings for this project than the tpt/gtr backgrounds during a brief 8 bar bass solo over the bridge section. It's a very fleeting moment, behind a solo, but I went through great pains to create an interesting chordal element in the other instruments. It's often these kind of easy-to-miss details that make the difference for me when listening. The trumpet is the top pitch in the following sample, and the notation was raised an octave for ease of reading.
I concentrate on you
I decided to include two tracks that featured just one of my cohorts and myself. Cole Porter's "ICOY" is a duet between myself and Ben. It's also the first vocal tune on the album . The bass triplet motif slyly moves around to get through the harmony initially, leading to some odd double stop pairings near the end of the "A" sections. The bass outlines a slightly unusual 3-6-2-5 turnaround (in Eb) of Eb/G-F#7-Db/F - E7.
I enjoyed "trading 4's" with Ben in the blowing section, and got the somewhat unique opportunity as a trumpet player to "support" the bass solos.
Stay tuned for some insight on a few more tracks in the next post!